As the Man approached the door, he wore so wide a grin that it almost didn’t become him. It was the sort of countenance that befit children with puppies — assured carelessness.
As quick as an eyelash, the Man heard a voice over his shoulder. It froze him like granite. The Imposter had crept up behind the Man, all tiptoes and library hum.
Said the Imposter to the Man, “You know they won’t like you, don’t you?”
The Man, so taken aback by the old confidant’s sudden presence, couldn’t think straight.
“They have their lives,” he said again in different words. “You’re not like them.”
The Imposter’s words made inexplicable sense in that hurried moment. Still rigid, the Man looked behind him with a start to see his heckler.
But the Imposter was gone, and the Man’s forehead now collected beads of sweat.
The man turned back to the door and looked down at the shiny knob. He thought of the people on the other side of the door, wondered what they were talking about, how they dressed. He looked over his shoulder again and then back at the knob.
That shiny little knob.